Friday, April 13, 2007

Saluting citizen journalists

Readers Note: JinC has its share of Trolls and "limits-testers."

Mostly I do what sensible bloggers do: delete and move on.

Today something rare: I said something about "Trolls and 'limits-testers.'"

I won't encourage you to look at the post; that's your call.

Life is short and there are so many wonderful people auch as the citizen journalists I write about in the post below.


We had citizen journalist before we had the United States of America.

Decades before the Declaration of Independence was signed, citizen journalists were putting information and opinions in print and before their fellow townspeople.

Benjamin Franklin was one of them. After working a long day and well into the night as a commercial printer, Franklin would put on a print sheet his opinions on an event or issue of the day. Other times, he gave the people of Philadelphia facts “the powers that be” were withholding or that Franklin just thought they should know. Then he’d circulate what he wrote around town.

Sometimes Franklin signed his name; most often he used a pseudonym. Remember Poor Richard?

Franklin wasn’t alone in using a pseudonym. Those citizen journalists and Founders – Madison, Jay and Hamilton - used Publicus when they published The Federalist Papers.

Since March 25, 2006 when the Raleigh News & Observer first published what reporters Anne Blythe and Samiha Khanna must have known was a fraud story of a young mother brutally gang-raped by three lacrosse players whose teammates where covering up for them, citizen journalists have been complaining to the N&O and countering the false statements in the N&O story about a night the N&O said ended in “sexual violence.”

Those citizen journalists have been ignored and abused by the N&O, other media and even some blogs.

But they've stayed at it. Just as Franklin did, they've helped inform others and lead them to productive thinking.

They gave their supporting voices to those in MSM and blogging who were seeking truth.

They supported the campaign to recall Nifong. They wrote letters to the editor and called reporters.

They spread the word on forums and in chat groups.

And something else this blogger especially appreciates: They fact-checked folks and pointed out errors.

Well, I better stop praising citizen journalists lest they all get swell heads and say to themselves: “Hey, JinC ain’t so bright. Why can’t we be a bloggers?”

I don’t want things to get to go to that extreme.

On the other hand, I don’t want the week to end at JinC without expressing my admiration and appreciation for all that citizen journalists have done to help unravel the Hoax and stop the frame-up.

Such citizen journalists acted in the best Ben Franklin tradition.